The futuristic curved metal Ordos Museum in China’s Inner Mongolia Region is finally complete. Designed in 2005 by MAD Architects, the undulating building houses the regions’ cultural relics. Clad in a space age facade made from metal louvers, the building utilizes passive methods for lighting and climate control.
The city of Ordos is a relatively new city that has developed over the last six years from a rural culture. The bulbous building reflects the region’s resistance against the influx of the ever-creeping urban grid, and it was inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s “Manhattan Dome.” It emulates the sand dunes of the Gobi desert that sat on the site not long ago, before the development plan was set in place.
The museum features dual entrances at the east and west facades, which create a continuous flow from outside to inside then out once more. The museum’s exterior is composed of highly polished dark copper-colored metal louvers that curve in rolling waves and give the museum a surreal glow. The polished metal reflects the museum’s surroundings, but the louvers are spaced apart, dissolving the reflections. The louvers also filter sunlight into the interior galleries and exhibition halls.
The metal louver system also serves to block solar gain while allowing natural ventilation. The glazed roof and glass walls bring additional light into the interior.
Inside, white expansive curvilinear walls mimic the exterior while separating the exhibition halls. An open atrium connects the different floors with black exposed staircases that climb the interior of the museum. The Ordos Museum is set to become a cultural and architectural oasis set amidst a gridwork of urban density.